"tis the Season..."




Life has a way of sneaking up on me around this time of year.  


This is such a beautiful season, and despite the cold temperatures out on my thermometer (currently marking a generous 31 degrees), I'm feeling the warmth of God's love, provision and protection over me and my loved ones.  How else can I explain the pure sense of peace in the midst of chaos, lack of sleep routines, and endless loads of dirty laundry staring at me?  

Let's just say... I'm choosing to focus on Jesus.  

This IS the season to look to Jesus.  
To focus on Jesus.  To celebrate Jesus.  To remind ourselves that JESUS is the reason why we even have this holiday called Christmas.  
Right?  
So... today...  If you're feeling overwhelmed because you haven't started your Christmas shopping... or if you're rushing to find the perfect Christmas dinner menu, or trying to get the house impeccable for your many guests,... or you're just trying to keep up with your daily chores including that huge pile of dishes in the sink...  
REMEMBER JESUS.
The baby who was born thousands of years ago when the world around him was in raw turmoil.
The King who left his heavenly throne to take his first breaths in a stable... a barn... and lay in a manger.
Jesus, the Son of God...  God Himself in flesh.
My Savior.

What are YOU choosing to focus on today?

Mary & Martha Very Merry 72-Hour Sale!




Here's a sneak peak of the 72-Hour Sale that starts THIS Thursday, December 5 at 6am PST until Saturday, December 7 at 6pm PST.  
While supplies last!
(please note that items SOLD OUT in less than 24 hours during our last Flash Sale)
Click HERE to shop.
Remember... December 5-7!!!  Stock up on those special gifts NOW!


A "New" Season of Thanksgiving




I have a new understanding of what it means to be fully THANKFUL for the blessings in my life.

Salvation through Jesus Christ.
Healthy children.
Loving and faithful husband.
Friends.
Church family.
Family.
Freedom.
Everything else... all blessings indeed.

So, can I just pause here for a second (while baby naps and my other 2 are attentively watching Planes) to praise God for His grace and mercies... for His unconditional love... for His hand of protection... for His daily provisions.  I am humbled by His loving nature and faithful character.  And THANKFUL for choosing ME to accomplish His work in the ones around me.  



As a mother of 3, Thanksgiving is now the NEW way of getting through each and every day of life.  I'm not gonna lie... having my third baby has not been easy.  Without thanksgiving, the challenges of parenting 3 little ones can blind me to think that the whining, crying, cleaning, feeding and playing referee will never end.  Thanksgiving has to be a NEW attitude of my heart.  It surrounds those moments when I take a deep breath and feel the presence of God with me, IN me.  

Happy Thanksgiving!


A Rescued Heart Book Giveaway Winner!




Congratulations to Catherine H.!!!

I already emailed you...  Enjoy!  And be ready to be hooked... 
Consider yourself warned!


Excuse me while I ramble...




Can I just pause for a rambling session tonight?
Thank you!  I mean, excuse me while I do that...  you're more than welcome to stay and list/read.
Thank you for doing that, actually.
*sigh*
I am exhausted!
I don't even know where to begin.  
Sure, I'm 38 weeks into my third pregnancy, and at 36... let me tell you... carrying a baby for almost 40 weeks is NOT easy.  Especially since the chores around the house don't stop existing, my 4 and 2 year-olds continually need their mama, and a good night of rest and sleep is almost non-existent at this point.
I kept thinking to myself, "Okay, Helen.  I am going to attempt to enjoy every moment of this pregnancy, since this will be my last."  And I like to think that this is NOT a complaining session...  No, it's just a rambling session.  Okay?
I'm also amazed at how much this baby, this little one I haven't even met, already has a huge chunk of my heart.  We've gone through a pretty serious scare this past Saturday, and I will NOT easily forget it.
Baby was breech.
We knew about it at week 29, when I had my very first ultrasound.
And baby was breech at week 35 and 37.
So after multiple consultations, my doctor suggested an ECV, External Cephalic Version.  It's just a fancy name for a procedure where an experienced physician turns the baby from the breech to the head-down position, externally.  
The ECV was scheduled for this past Saturday morning.  I was confident in my doctor, and fully trusting that God had me and this baby in His hands.
After relaxing my uterus with some "special medicine", the doctors tried to guide my baby to do a forward flip, and baby did not budge... and actually caused him/her some distress, dropping his/her heart rate significantly for a good 2-3 minutes.  
The scariest minutes of my life!!!!
But baby recovered and we were both monitored for the next 90 minutes.
The choice became mine and Joel's... Do we allow the doctors to go ahead with a second attempt?  This time, a back flip?
I trusted my mama instinct and, in tears, said "yes, I want to try again".
This time, the doctors assured me that if the baby didn't move within the first minute, they would stop.
At an attempt for a back flip, the baby began to move and turn within the first 30 seconds... and in less than 2 minutes, baby was head-down!!!
I cried!
I cried in relief!
I cried because I KNEW God was present!
And now I cry because I can't wait to meet this little one!
This past Saturday was a raw reminder of how fragile life is, and how special in God's eyes you and me are!
I am so thankful to have had Joel by my side that morning...
I know that as he held my hand, he shared that same fear with me... a fear of the unknown, but fully trusting in the ONE that knew all along the destiny of our child.  
So, I post all of this tonight for my own records.  I want to be able to come back here and say, "Wow, God was already working in this baby's life, even before he/she was born!"
And I don't ever want to forget how I felt, as I heard this baby's heart rate drop... and how long those 2-3 minutes felt, as the nurse and doctors tried so hard to bring it to "normal".  
SO SCARY!
But now I wait... 
And that in itself is exhausting.
So, excuse me while I rambled tonight.



A Rescued Heart - A Book Review & GIVEAWAY!




Today is Bragging Monday... well, not officially... But it is for me!
Today I get to brag about Natalie Replogle, a dear friend I've gotten to known through MOTTTs these last few years.  She has been an inspiring presence in our group, always sharing her truthful, funny, raw and often (if not always) Spirit-led insights with me and the ones in the group. 
So, we all knew she had been "working on a book" for the past few years.  And I had already resolved in my head that whenever this book came out, I would be all over it!

Natalie Replogle

So... THE BOOK IS OUT and I'm so proud of Natalie for publishing her very first "baby" out into the world (Wait... did that sound funny?  Oh well... sorry, girl!)!

A Rescued Heart by Natalie Replogle

I also have the privilege of posting the last few Q/A's of her Blog Tour, along with some book reviews.  My OWN humble review will be at the very end... so, READ ON!

How did you balance writing a book while raising a young family?
       Lots of caffeine and very little sleep. I tried to do my best to not let it affect my time with the family. It started as a hobby and I made sure to keep it that way. I tried to only write during my free time when my kids were sleeping. This is the one area that worked for me with having a husband gone often (my husband is a pilot).  The nights when he was gone, I worked on my book as much as I could, that way when he was home I could spend my free time with him. When I first started writing the book it was easier because I only had two kids, but once I had my third it got a bit tricky. I had to get more creative with my time. I sometimes went in writing spurts and I always had a pad of paper with me wherever I went. Like waiting in the school pick up line, when the kids were watching a movie, as I watched the kids play in the sandbox or ride bikes; I would write down ideas and prepare for scenes so when I did have time to write I was already prepared and knew what I wanted to do and say.  Once we knew this was turning into more than just a hobby and I was going to get published, my husband blessed the socks off me and would give me evenings away to go to a coffee shop and write/edit. I seriously couldn’t have done it without his encouragement and support. Overall, I don’t really know if I balanced the best I could have, the housework got the raw end of the deal that’s for sure, but the family stayed fed, had clean clothes (from a basket that sat unfolded for a week – ahem, moving on) and loved, that’s all that matters, right?!

How many rejections did you get before your book was published?
       I think I lost count around 19. Most of the publishing houses are set up now that you can’t contact them directly. You have to go through an agent first and then they work to find you a publisher. To do this, you begin by sending a query letter out to agents and if they are interested they will contact you and ask to see more material (out of all of them, I only had one agent ask for more). Why I say I lost count is because a lot of them will not even respond to your letter, they just let it be known that if you don’t hear from them, then they are not interested. After about a year and a half of pursing agents, the Lord brought to my attention White Feather Press – a small Christian publishing company that I could contact directly. I sent them my manuscript, they loved it, and here we are now!


Book Reviews:  

"This new author is amazing! In a world that can bring so much pain and hurt, the writer captures the real meaning of this life, to honor our Heavenly Father and He will bring joy, forgiveness, hope, but most important Love into our lives. Trusting in God can bring such a beautiful journey to your life. You will be captured in this story from the first chapter to the last!"


"A Rescued Heart will NOT disappoint! It is a beautiful story about pain and rejection, but also redemption, healing, and love. I have read a TON of Christian fiction, and this was one of the best. The characters are easy to relate to and realistic. Sometimes in Christian fiction novels, things are TOO good to be true. However, in this novel, the characters are REAL, their feelings and emotions are raw, and they respond the way I might when stretched, hurt, and/or challenged. This novel tackles the hard issue of domestic abuse, and I appreciate how the author, Natalie Replogle, exposes the truth, from all sides, in a sensitive, yet informative way. I think this book would be an exceptional read for anyone, but especially meaningful for someone coming out of a hurtful relationship or abuse. It clearly shows God's redeeming love and how He walks alongside us through even the most challenging life experiences. I can't wait for the next book!"

My OWN humble review...
I know I said it was Bragging Monday for me... and as much as you're thinking: "Well, Helen's just biased... she'll say all these nice things about Natalie's book, because... well, because she's a friend.
But I'll try to be as honest as I can.
A Rescued Heart is a romance fiction book, the first book of her 4-book Come To My Rescue Series.  I've stopped reading romance novels a number of years ago.  I used to be hooked on all the Nicholas Sparks books, I mean, seriously... I would read every single one of them, and even tried to "convert" my other friends into reading them.  We had a "secret" club and everything!  Anyway, needless to say, I've "grown out of it" and it had been YEARS since I even touched a romance story... until I picked up A Rescued Heart.
When I started reading, I could hear Natalie's voice on each page (by the way, Natalie... audio book coming soon?), but after only a few pages, the characters in the story, Ava, Matt, Kim, Ray, Jules, all started to have a life of their own!  I gave them faces and different voices, all while Natalie worked her magic in developing them into beautiful characters residing in Rockford, IL.  
This book managed to envelope themes of grief & loss, human nature & sin, hurt & healing, forgiveness, redemption, God's unconditional love, and our finding our true and only identity in Christ.  Despite the high emphasis on the "love story" between two characters, I found the issue of Domestic Violence much more striking and revealing to the eyes of my heart.  I was hurt, angry, broken, and fascinated by the reality of those who live under the lies of their guilt & shame.  Very powerful statements of our current society.  Pure evil in our world.  
As a mother of 2 young children, and being super pregnant at the moment, I managed to read this puppy in less than a week!  Can't wait for book #2!


Okay... last but NOT least!  
How could I tease you with such a review without blessing ONE OF YOU with a COPY OF THE BOOK?  So, here's a GIVEAWAY just for you!!!




And if you just CAN'T wait to get your hand on this book, you can find it HERE or HERE.

A Raw Entry From My Journal... Slapping Jesus in the face?




"From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!"  
Psalm 113:3


This is the verse that's been on REPLAY on my mind lately, and today I randomly opened to it.  
Every second of every day was created for me to praise the Lord.  
I find that the more PRAISE and THANKSGIVING I give God, the less angry I get.  
It's not an instant response (believe me!), but it does calm my heart and mind.  
Reflecting and thanking Jesus for His sacrifice on the cross for my sin makes my moment of sin a slap in His face... 
and I don't want to do that!  
And that's what it is... every time I CHOOSE to stay in my anger and sin, I am choosing to slap my Savior in His face!  
I hurt Him.
I hurt myself.
Forgive me, LORD!

May I be a woman, a mother and wife that reflects the love and character of Christ.  
May I continually work out my faith so that I can daily become more like Jesus.  
Oh, Lord, help me to do just that.  
And help me to STOP and listen to your Spirit when I can't rely on my own strength.  
Help me to trust in You and You ALONE.

Amen

Being still... at God's majestic canvas...




Sunrise from my front door...  taken 2 days ago:)  

It's OH-KAY!




At 34 weeks along in my pregnancy, I've realized that the one thing I've been consistently craving has been...


C-O-C-O-N-U-T

Everything and anything that contained "coconut" in their ingredient list...
So, this afternoon, out on a whim, I decided to try these super easy coconut macaroons.  
It is SERIOUSLY the easiest and fastest treat I've ever made!
If you're a coconut fan like me, give this one a try!



Coconut Macaroons
(makes one dozen)

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cup flaked coconut ( I used sweetened, then decreased sugar amount)
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg whites
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

Directions:
Combine ingredients; stir well.  Drop by level tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350F for 20 minutes;  cool on wire rack (the LONGEST wait ever if you're 34 weeks pregnant!!!)

That's it!  



Believe me!  They won't last long!  Might have to double the recipe NEXT TIME (because there WILL BE a next time!)... or hide them from the kids!

Enjoy!


My Current Reads




One might disagree with me, but if you really want to get in the "habit" of reading,
YOU MAKE TIME FOR IT!
Right?
So, that's what I've been doing.
No matter how hectic, busy, or full my daily schedule finds, I find joy in sitting down with a good book in hand.  No, I don't own a Kindle, Nook, iPad, or any other e-reader out there.  
I wish....
But the truth is that I enjoy flipping through the pages of a good ol' book.  
A REAL BOOK!

So, here are just a few that are currently sitting on my nightstand... or on my dining table,  kitchen, living room, or on top of our piano.  

A Rescued Heart by Natalie Replogle

My friend Natalie just published her very first book a couple of weeks ago.  She is an excellent writer and I cannot be more proud of her!  This book is absolutely addicting... seriously, I got it today and can't put it down!!!  This is Book 1 of a 4-Book Series she will be publishing!  You go, girl!

What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa Terkeurst

Lysa Terkeurst published this book a while ago, but our church Ladies Bible Study just finished going through this DVD series.  It was absolutely touching!  But now I'm working through the pages of the actual book (not the study book we used).  Lysa is so easy to relate and an excellent teacher and writer.  This one is another "must" from her collection!

Wonder Struck by Margaret Feinberg


And Wonder Struck... I have a love-hate relationship with this book.  It took me FOREVER to get through the first few chapters, but I absolutely adore Feinberg's style and story-telling ability.  I WILL finish this book by the end of the month!  Ok, I said it!  And if I said it, I WILL do it!

What about you?  Reading anything good these days?



Wonderfully Made





"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!"
Psalm 139:13-17

Baby #3; ultrasound at almost 29 weeks!

A Confirmation & Challenge through Lysa Terkeurst




God's been speaking to me in a LOUD voice lately.


I've been reading through Lysa Terkeurst's book "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God" with a few ladies from church.  
Tonight was one of those nights...
 I had to sit through another one of those moments when God says,
 "Helen!  Pay attention!  This is for YOU!"  

Last week we went through 2 Peter 1:3-8, which is one of those Scripture passages that has been challenging ever since God tugged me while making brownies THREE YEARS AGO! 

"His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:3-8

 Remember THIS post???  If not, STOP NOW and go back to THAT post!!!

Ok, now that you've gone there and back, here's what God has been challenging me with...
"Helen, focus on ME!  This is all MINE, offer it back to ME!"
Time.  Possessions.  Home.  
Children.  Hobbies.  Ministry.  Business.

In 2 Peter 1, the apostle Peter challenges all of us to not be complacent, 
but to be more God-focused (not just "good").  It's not about what we can or can't DO.  It's not about being PERFECT (remember?  Shattering the Illusion of Perfection?).  It's about identifying those areas in MY life where I let the world fill when my soul is empty and depleted.
"When my soul is depleted, it's like a sponge", and that's when I NEED to go to the Lord, my true source of strength, encouragement, and truth. 

Anyway...
At the end of tonight's Bible study with the ladies, Lysa's week assignment was this:
OPEN UP YOUR HOME IN SOME WAY.

WOW!
WOW, God!
Hasn't THAT been the theme of these last few weeks?
Saying YES to God when He nudges me to open up my door to that one person who needs encouragement.
This is really sounding like a broken record.  
But somehow, the confirmations have been flooding my mind, my conversations, and now my Bible study meetings!  

Wow...
What else can I say?
How can you open your home in some way this week?

Shattering the Illusion of Perfection




Who said anyone of us needs to be perfect?


We are all SO FAR from perfection!
So...
Why do we spend so much time
preparing
cleaning
organizing
decorating
worrying
comparing
planning
hiding
...and did I say, worrying?

I've been convicted over and over again these last several weeks.  It all started when the (in)courage Bloom Book Club launched their Summer reading discussion on Shauna Niequist's Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes
  

OH MY GOODNESS... 
What a great read!  Whether you're a foodie or not, this is definitely one you NEED to get your hands on!  It's a beautiful book filled with stories, memories, recipes (yes! recipes) and challenging thoughts around the idea of opening your home and loving on people around our tables.  Whether it's our families around the dinner table, or good friends around the coffee table, or just random visitors scattered around our homes eating frozen pizza.  What counts are the MOMENTS we share with one another.  
The laughter, tears, and LIFE we get to experience together.  
That's when we meet and experience Jesus' unconditional love.  Isn't it?

Besides... by letting others see me in my imperfection, it invites them to shatter the illusion of perfection for themselves, too.  If I can be free to serve frozen pizza to someone, wouldn't that same person feel completely free to set aside their china and gourmet menu when I come over... 
What a gift of freedom we can give each other!

(okay... let me stop here and give you a little disclaimer.  I am NOT opposed to cleaning, prepping, organizing, planning, or pretty dishes.  I LOVE me some pretty dishes, believe me!  But the worry behind the illusion of perfection is what bothers me.)

Hospitality is a word I always ran away from. 
Definitely not a strong "gift" in my book.  
It does not come easy for me, and it takes me a while to feel comfortable doing it.
BUT, like I said... I've been convicted over and over again about this...
Our church ladies Bible Study (again... another book-related "tool" being used by God) is going through Lysa Terkeurst's What Happens When Women Say Yes to God: Experiencing Life in Extraordinary Ways


 and... boy, did I hear God's voice here again!  
Life with Jesus is not about being comfortable.  
It's about being comfort-able.  
Being able to use my story to comfort someone else.  It's about being willing and open.  It's about hospitality.  
Yes, I said it.  
It's about opening my home, my heart, my life... 

And if that wasn't enough...
For those who know me, you're aware that I became a Blessings Unlimited Independent Consultant in May 2012.  After months and months of LOVING the mission of Blessings Unlimited, I was informed that, after much prayer, the leadership had decided on a more focused mission for BU.  So...  


IS NOW



You can view the reasons for the changes and transitions on this video.  


But basically, Blessings Unlimited mission to "pursue the heart of God and bring blessings to others" became a rich and more focused mission with Mary & Martha... 
"Meaningful Entertaining.... Made Simple".  
The mission with flesh on!  
Bringing blessings to others BY meaningfully and simply loving on others.  
Once again... 
It's about opening our home, letting people into our lives, loving God and loving people in the process.  
The story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42 tells us about 2 sisters whose house was open to receive Jesus and his friends.  Mary AND Martha represent us, they represent ME.  
On one hand I want to sit at Jesus' feet... on the other hand, I often find myself being Martha... worrying, prepping, cleaning, running around worrying about every detail of my imperfect home and life.  But her heart for hospitality is what I lack.  So, yes, I AM MARY AND MARTHA!

So... I've been convicted.  
I need to shatter the illusion of perfection.
It's not about perfection.
It's about the people.
It's about loving God and loving people.

I've been challenged.  
How about you?
Where is that one area in your life you've been fighting this illusion that you NEED to be perfect?
Shauna Niequist said that the 2 areas in women's lives where we struggle with this illusion the most are our BODIES and our HOMES.  
True?

24




I've heard it said that we're all given the same amount of hours each day...


24 hours.

And 24 hours seem to pass me by so quickly these days.  I've been going through a challenging season of "choosing joy", partially because of the nature of my daily routine.  
Children, chores, church, family, Summer heat (yes, not a big fan of high temps), and... just noise in general.
We're carrying such a busy schedule these last few months and I know that I need to rest. Lack of rest and recreation can really take a toll on anyone, specially if you're always playing catch up and running around making sure the ones who are depending on you are well taken care of.  
So... all that to say... 24 hours can turn into 24 hours of exhaustion if I'm not careful.

Also, have you ever experienced one of those moments when God totally knocks you upside the head to get your attention?  
This morning as I am between laundry and dishes, He asked me to take a breather, take in the sounds of my children whining and crying and playing and laughing and whining again, to stop, and again... take a deep breath.  What a short season this is!  But it FEELS neverending!  Are you with me here?  

So I stopped...

And remembered that today also marks 24 weeks...
Yes, I'm 24 weeks along with my 3rd pregnancy, awaiting the arrival of another life the Lord is bringing into this world.  24 weeks I've been carrying the extra physical weight and reminder that I am physically responsible to take deep breaths, to rest, and to be blessed.
Despite a fast paced lifestyle with busy schedules and numerous demands, I need to take those deep breaths.  To use the 24 hours in my day purposefully, creatively, and thankfully.  

My life is made of 24 hours a day.  And these last 24 weeks have been a reminder of what should be priority.  Choose to take a deep breath today!

Easy Red Velvet Cookies




I was craving something sweet...
But the house is completely out of sugar! (That's right, OUT of sugar!  What???)
Then I remembered that I had a couple of Red Velvet cake mix boxes, and my mother-in-law's "Cake Mix Cookies" came to mind.
So I decided to make these EASY Red Velvet Cookies!

red velvet cookies... yum!


EASY Red Velvet Cookies

1 package of Red Velvet cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 bag chocolate chips ( I used a mix of craisins and white chocolate chips)

Mix cake mix, eggs, and oil.  Add any chips you choose.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-11 minutes.  Don't overbake them!  

Enjoy!

My version of March Madness




Let the MARCH MADNESS begin! 

Maybe you don’t like to have “parties” or you don’t have the time to have one. Here is your chance to receive the benefits of having a BLESSINGS UNLIMITED gathering without lifting a finger!

With every $25 you spend this week, I will put your name in the hat to have a chance to be the MYSTERY HOSTESS! The MYSTERY HOSTESS will receive all the benefits of the gathering! That means all the half price items, hostess exclusives, and free products. I will draw on Thursday night, March 28th, to see who will receive all the benefits of being the hostess of this gathering.

You can order from ALL over the country! It will be directly shipped to you!

You are welcome to order right from my website and be entered in the drawing!

Go to www.myblessingsunlimited.net/helengentz

On my new website, navigate to the gatherings and choose the March Madness Mystery Hostess Gathering! Begin shopping there!

Also, remember the March specials showcased below!



SHOP NOW! (Be thinking Mother's Day and Graduations too!)

Starting Monday, March 25, you’ll be able to shop our newest Reminders of Grace Jewelry Collection!

LAST DAY TO ORDER WILL BE THURSDAY, MARCH 28th! I will draw that night and put the order in by Saturday night! This will ensure quick delivery!

Spring 2013 - The Beginnings...




Hello there!
Today is the first day of Spring (right?) and I've decided to sit down and soak in all of God's glory and blessings in my life.
Well, at least that was my intention. 
I woke up early this morning.  
Well, I was WOKEN UP this morning by two very energetic children.
They were so energetic and ready for the day that they decided it would be a good idea to dump out an entire bucket of legos AND hot wheels (ALL OF THEM!) in order to get to their bucket of train tracks!  
WHAT???
So, I found myself screaming and yelling in the very early hours of this "glorious" first day of Spring...

*sigh*

What happened?  
Sometimes I wish my best intentions would drive the reality of the day-to-day moments we call life.  It sure would be nice to have a peaceful morning.  And then I realized how selfish I can be as a mother, to desire a peaceful morning, when all the while my children just wanted to PLAY.  They were ready for God's glory and blessings in their life.  
They enjoy their toys.  
They enjoy each other.  
Freedom.  

It's in moments like these that I return to my Savior and Creator.  He is so quick to forgive, especially when I don't deserve it.  My prayer today is for me... and for YOU out there who struggle to bast and soak in God's glory and blessings in your (my) life.  May my life reflect God's unconditional love for me.  And may moments like these remind me that it's never too late to hope for new beginnings... it's what He calls REDEMPTION.  

Happy Spring!

"He made everything beautiful in its time."  Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ESV)

Blessings Unlimited Coasters Set 

What "The Briarpatch Gospel" Did To My Reading




There is great power in the Gospel.  The Good News!  Jesus crucified and risen again!  For my sin and ours.  Good news, right?  Reading "The Briarpatch Gospel" by Shayne Wheeler these past few weeks have opened my eyes to an extraordinary reality.  
To be completely honest, I was less than EXCITED to finish this book.  I enjoyed reading Wheeler's experience with his new neighbors and his new geographic neighborhood.  I enjoyed the organic way that he started to view the power of the Gospel at work in his church and the ones around him, especially his new neighbors!  I could relate to the importance of opening our lives in order for those who wouldn't otherwise step into the walls of a structural church to see and experience Jesus.  

So I came away from this book challenged.  

On the other hand, as a woman and a pastor's wife, I realized how much I enjoy reading books written from a female point of view instead.  It felt heavy on leadership and how men relate.  And at the time I was reading this book, I was "hungry" to hear more from others, more specifically women, doing the same kind of organic gospel living ministry.  

Overall, I enjoyed this book and will recommend to my brothers... those who are on the trenches living out the Gospel of Jesus to those around their neighborhood and beyond.

As always, thank you Tyndale House for providing this complimentary copy for my honest review.  I count it a privilege to be able to read books and tell you, friends, my thoughts and reactions.